Holding up the new graphically driven brochure and sample of Styli-Style's latest beauty innovation and triple threat — an eye shadow and eyeliner that is waterproof, smudge-proof and activity-proof — Mindy Gale, founder of the advertising and public relations hybrid Gale Group, stresses the importance of creative mailing to her staff.
"We never send a dry product or press release to an editor," said Gale, a Philadelphia native, during a recent production meeting. "We always send a press release, product and graphic all together to catch the eye"
While Styli-Style's Shadow 24 promises to withstand any challenges encountered in a woman's day, Gale says it's her job is to make sure Gale Group provides this information to editors across the country.
Gale has come a long way from her Hofstra University coed days with a major in medical illustration. With a main office in New York and a satellite office in Los Angeles, Gale Group has grown into an agency that infuses the "perfect proportions" of advertising and p.r. with the aim of giving clients little reason to go elsewhere.
"When we first started this concept, we did have resistance, because clients would think, 'How could you be great in p.r. and how could you still be great in advertising services?' But the two really go hand in hand, and today more than ever the line blurs," Gale explained.
Gale said potential clients could have been hesitant because disciplines and staffing for advertising and p.r. vastly differ. "People that tend to be in publicity are different than creative and production people," Gale said. "And I guess in retrospect the biggest challenge was in figuring out how to harness all this talent"
Gale admits there was a learning curve, and said her current staff of 22 is almost evenly split between the two fields. "We do have different teams of people and they do work together," said Gale, a brunette with striking green eyes and the mother of seven-year-old twins. "We'll sit around at a staff meeting and the people in p.r. that are talking to magazines every day might share trends in graphics or color stories while the advertising department says, 'Hmm, that's interesting,' or vice versa"Gale said her business has to "evolve and change, and move with your clients' needs and what's happening in the industry. Business always changes so you can't get stuck in your way of doing things. You need to be ahead of the game"
Gale's business evolved from an early Eighties "magalogue" she created in order to weld together interests in publishing and fashion. She created a cohesive publication aptly titled "Fashion Avenue" that was full of editorial content. As self-proclaimed editor in chief, Gale pioneered blurring the lines between advertisements and editorial nearly two decades ago. Peak circulation hovered around 300,000.
For Gale, an average day consists of a combination of production, creative and p.r. meetings, new business directional meetings (to secure new clients) and additional meetings with staff and clients (both established and potential), as well as media lunches. A large portion of her time is spent directly in the creative element, whether it be art directing, overseeing casting or attending photo shoots. In the few free moments she has, Gale tries to return the seemingly never-ending e-mails and phone calls she is inundated with on a daily basis.
In addition to her daily workload, Gale also leads seminars and participates in panels relating to brand cohesion, usually coinciding with a major trade show. "My seminars are directed toward brand owners, retailers and/or manufacturers that want to understand how to get their message out," said Gale. "We talk about how to layer p.r. and creative visuals, point of purchase, showroom environment, sales people and how everything can and should have the same message throughout"
At a recent staff meeting, K-Swiss was next on the agenda. The classic footwear brand, responsible for the first leather tennis shoe, is in the midst of encapsulating a new marketing decision, said Gale. K-Swiss, once associated with a certain age demographic, is now being branded as a "premium sport" brand, conjuring up images of classic California, and a younger, hipper customer of both genders. So far, Gale Group has produced two TV commercials (the first running now and the next later in July), as well as outdoor media light boxes and print ads featuring the new K-Swiss products.Next up for Gale is a new business directional meeting with Liz Cohen, who works on business development at Gale Group, and Maria Ashe, the president of BeautyADDICTS, a new line of makeup whose mission is to create "beauty made simple" The purpose of the meeting was to "get the ball running and tighten up direction" on what Gale Group aims to achieve in terms of advertising and p.r. promotions for the new brand. Ashe, a self-proclaimed beauty junkie who studied theatrical makeup in college, explained that the objective of BeautyADDICTS is to base all makeup on attitudes and moods, rather than seasons.
Later that day, Gale makes a quick change to a black-and-white ensemble consisting of a chic black wrap blouse that ties around the waist with fitted white jeans for a K-Swiss event. The new showroom, boasting a roof deck overlooking the city and state-of-the-art design, was filled with K-Swiss' spring 2008 line of clothing and colorful sneakers. There were models walking around sporting leggings, tanks and zip-ups from the updated line, as well as Champagne, wine and hors d'oeuvres.
"The opening of the showroom is part of the culmination of a project we have been working on for a long time with the Gale Group, which is really about the global positioning of our brand," said K-Swiss executive vice president David Nichols at the launch party. "We have had growth in Europe, Asia and the United States over the last several years, and now we're at a point where we have momentum in each market, so the important thing is to make it one global brand"
After numerous phone calls, e-mails and meetings, as well as the party, Gale calls it a day. Balancing career and family while tackling future strategies for her company, it's clear Gale is ambitious and was career-driven from a young age.
"Honestly, I was always the kid in high school with a portfolio in one hand, a guitar in the other hand and a button to vote for me for class president on my chest," she said. "I was always in the creative and communication areas, so it's kind of natural that I ended up in advertising and p.r"
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